I caught the Republican debate last night on CNN. Yeah, that's right, I'm the guy who watched. Me and the canidates' parents.
The debate was fine, rather pedestrian in terms of questions and answers. Not unexpected this early, where the last thing anyone wants to do is implode before voters even have a chance to google you.
What struck me, however, was a news item about the debate and social media:
Seems CNN decided to set up a large screen and feed Facebook posts throughout the debate for the audience, moderator and candidates to see.
Am I alone on Twitter island, or is there something truly odd about this?
Why on earth is it necessary to have a rambling, one way conversation scrolling on a screen during a debate? Isn't the point (at least tradition) of political debate that it takes place IN PERSON??
I found myself waiting for Ron Paul to scream "Higher taxes? LOL!" or Mitt Romney to blurt out "Don't ask don't tell? TMI!" Or for any of them to beg voters to poke them (insert Anthony Weiner joke) or hit their "like" button.
What's shorthand for, "Have we lost our collective minds?" HWLOCM?
And it's not just the debate. Somehow I can't turn anywhere without references to Facebook pages.
Everyone from T.V. news outlets to columnists are in the act, going to their "pages" to share comments about their stories during the stories.
That's the difference. Unlike the old days when people wrote letters to the editor or segments were devoted to viewer comment, now "comments" are woven in.
Why is news now on a level with sports radio? Do we really need to tee up Barry from Bollingbrook for his view on the G-7 summit?
To me, Facebook comments are like writing on a bathroom wall. Or listening to messages on random answering machines.
Maybe I'm missing something, but I have always picked up a paper to read news, and trusted that those reporting the news are a wee bit more in the know than an anonymous computer hack.
Can you picture Edward R. Morrow saying, "Good night and good tweeting" or Walter Cronkite closing with, "That's the way it is, isn't it Facebook peeps?"
I also see the irony, banging away on my laptop, part of the "new age" media. But come on, at least people choose to read this (at least some do) and it is strictly my opinion.
And hopefully more compelling than my answering machine.